on September 4, 2004
You wouldn't think it, but "Dominique" is a rare beast on CD. At least such was the case when I bought this CD (under its original title, Where Are They Now?) about ten years ago. You must give props to a simple acoustic number performed by a French-speaking nun that manages to keep a hands-down classic like "Louie Louie" out of the #1 spot on Billboard's Hot 100. Consider the climate: it was the winter of 1963, and the nation was still reeling from JFK. (Of course, the charts---and the country--would get shaken up in a revolutionary way a few months down the road.) All in all, it's a song that makes me feel good, and it's in good company on this disc. Sure, "Monster Mash" and "One Tin Soldier" figure in several anthologies, but for the price, this collection is tough to ignore.
Oh, wait! I didn't even mention "Jungle Fever"...
on August 5, 2006
For all the hoopla and erroneous credit the band "Coven" got in the early 70's for their much latter version, they did not release the 1st and original hit version of "ONE TIN SOLDIER". It was recorded and issued in 1969 by a Canadian group, THE ORIGINAL CASTE, and it was they who actually recorded the more definitive, superior and memorable version still played on Oldies radio stations to this day. This has caused much confusion with music fans of the song over the years. Coven recorded a "cover version" of the song which was used by Warner Brothers for their "BILLY JACK" movie at the time, as it made sense to use a band's version that was also signed to the label, therefore Coven recieved the lion's share exposure/promotion twice over for "ONE TIN SOLDIER", but their scaled down smaller band version is actually the weaker of the two. THE ORIGINAL CASTE version is more orchestrated and well balanced around Dixie's up front and centered impassioned vocal affair by far. The ORIGINAL CASTE was started as the "North Country Singers" in 1966. They changed their name to "The Original Caste" in 1969. It was a group of five people with the married couple of Bruce and Dixie Lee Innes at its core.
At first,they released two singles through DOT records, with little success. In 1969,they signed contract with the T.A. Records division of Bell Records. The single "ONE TIN SOLDIER"[composed by Lambert/Potter] and the album of same title were released.It has become a highly coveted collector's item.
They were produced by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter who became the celebrated lead songwriters/producers at Dunhill Records as they churned out hit after charting hit with various recording artists in the late 60's and throughout the first half of the 70's decade. The ORIGINAL CASTE's group leader, Bruce composed several excellent and fully loaded pop songs found on their debut album.
Title song "One Tin Soldier"[Bell/TA-186] was more popular in U.S.A.(No.34/Billboard Chart; 1969)than their next single "Mr. Monday", yet, both hit #1 in their native Canada and Japan, respectively. Many cover versions of "One Tin Soldier" had been issued subsequently. Especially, Coven made this tune appear to the US charts four times and it was used for the Original Sound Track of the Warner's Movie named "Billy Jack". The music director of this movie's soundtrack wanted to use the original version by THE ORIGINAL CASTE, but the episode was that The Coven, signed band of The Warner Records, was in haste chosen because of the movie and record company's relationship.
Bruce, Dixie & The ORIGINAL CASTE's recording era/career continued in various forms as a group and solo[Dixie]recordings for about eight years[1968-74]and the final album "Back Home"[issued 1974] was left after their original member's group were dissolved in 1972. Dixie & Bruce continued to tour with various new members until 1980.
Dixie Lee lives in British Columbia, state of Canada. Bruce resides in Sun Valley, Idaho, and keeps his music career alive by playing his inspiring folk music in local concerts, issuing his independent label recordings and also tours with an all new line up of THE ORIGINAL CASTE, circa 2005. In 2000 he discovered singer Cheryl Morrell, which led to reforming The Original Caste along with long time Original Caste bandmate Gary Carlson.
A Japanese Import reissue Cd of the ORIGINAL CASTE's first album, "ONE TIN SOLDIER", is available at www.amazon.com - I hope this finally clears up all the confusion.
on July 28, 2005
At first I was a little skeptical about purchasing this CD because of the many renditions and remakes that are out there. Especially at such a low price (it would cost more to download these individually). I only had two concerns when hearing the disc and these are no biggies but I thought I'd mention them. First, all the songs sound great and as I expected but "One Tin Soldier" is the only one I question as to whether it's the original recording. It sounds close but I am not familiar enough with it to be sure. All the other songs sound to be true and original. Secondly, the sexy little romp "Jungle Fever" I was not familiar with at all, so it was a surprise addition for me when I first played the disc. Overall, this is a great buy!
on May 22, 2008
This is an enjoyable, eclectic trip down the road to yesteryear, but I can't really call this "mainstream." It's a soundtrack to an imaginary movie that nobody has ever made. The variety of styles take you to different places, depending on how long you've been around, but you don't have to be a certain age to appreciate this material. It really gripes me when some kid doesn't realize that Paul McCartney and George Harrison were in the same band, if they have even heard of them at all. They say things like, "...well, that's before my time..." BULL! Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry were before "my time," and I like them just fine. None of this material is new, and despite the digital age, it sounds old. But not in the bad sense. I am of the age where I remember these selections first-hand, and felt threatened when they phased out vinyl records (weren't 8-tracks a trip?); If nothing else, the tactile experience of opening the record you just bought, usually for about $5.00 ($7.00 if it were a double record), seeing a lyric sheet, sometimes a poster, promotional materials, and elaborate artwork are a thing of the past, unless you pay beaucoups bucks for a huge box-set; it's now more common than it was a few years ago, but it's just not the same.
For the most part, these selections are just what the title says it is; "One Hit Wonders." For the most part, they have all done other material, but these are what you will most likely hear on the radio (some stations specialize in "Oldies") from these people.
For the most part, they are basic feel-good songs ("Come On To My Boat," "Reach Out Of The Darkness," etc), and some silly "fluff;" it's hard to believe "Dominique" was an actual "hit." You have the obligatory novelty record, Bobby Pickett's "Monster Mash," still a staple on oldies stations, especially around Halloween, and the bizarre (but really cool) "Jungle Fever," some mellow crooning material, and a few heavy-hitters to boot. "Reflections Of My Life" is still an extremely emotional, introspective song, even this many years later...and then you have Coven's "One Tin Soldier," the reason I bought this disc. There is a better version out there somewhere, on some 70's compilation record, I will find it some day, but the one here suffices just fine; I LOVE this song. It's one of those selections that is usually accompanied with people screaming "...Turn It DOWN!..." I know, I have never grown up.
The generic packaging, and limited (not really LIMITED, I guess) format sort of knocked a star off for me, but I am not complaining. I am glad I bought this disc, and will probably get several more in this, and similar series.
"...one tin soldier rides away..."